four.

We, the Drowned by Carsten Jensen (2006)
 Marstal, a small town on a Danish island, has always sent its men to the sea. Some came back, some lay on the bottom of the sea. In 1848 when Denmark was on the brink of war with Germany. Many of the men from Marstal entered the war and some didn’t come back again. Laurids became a legend in the town after he was shot in the air when a cannonball hit the ship and he survived and claimed that he went to heaven just to see St. Peter’s behind.  When he came back he wasn’t the same and the next time he sailed out, he never came back again.

Most of the book focuses on Laurids’ son, Albert, who goes searching after his father, a journey that takes him around the Pacific ocean. But the story doesn’t end there, it ends in 1945, two generations later.

This is the best book I have read in a long time, and among one of the best ever! I devoured each syllable of it, and all the amazing stories about the sailors, their wives or widows and children were magnificent. It is funny, sad and shocking at the same time. There are plenty of characters but it is easy to keep score of them.

I want to reread it, but then read it in English because I’m curious how some of the stereotypes translate into another language and culture. I was laughing out loud when reading a joke about some sailor’s clothes looking like a Sami wedding, but I don’t think anyone outside Scandinavia would get that joke. So I’m curious if such minor things are either left out in the translation or turned into something else.

Read it! And do not be frightened by the 688 pages because this is really one hell of a book!